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Hungary Is Unique

Hungary is a country in Europe. It is over 1000 years old. The first King of Hungary was Saint Stephen who lived from 975 to 1038. He continued the Christenization begun by his father, Duke Geza, fighting off the revolts led by pagan nobles until he united the country. He divided the country into counties governed by royal officials who kept an eye on the nobles. Through the centuries, the crown sent to him by Pope Sylvester II has remained the sacred symbol of Hungarian national existence. (From 1945 to 1978, the crown was held by the United States).

Hungary is much smaller now than it was when King Stephan I ruled. It was split up after WWI, leaving only the central part intact. Now, Hungary is almost the same size as the state of Indiana, just a little smaller. About 10 million people live in Hungary, and many Hungarians live throughout the world. The capital of Hungary is Budapest on the Danube river. Budapest was once two cities on two sides of the river, Buda and Pest, but then the people built a bridge, and the two cites became one city, Budapest.

Map of Hungary

Hungarians are a very special people. No one is quite sure where they came from, although they are clearly related to the ancient tribe known as Huns (maybe you've heard of Attilla the Hun?). The Hungarian language is unique, unrelated to any other language on earth, although it has some similarities with Scandanavian languages. I only know a few phrases, and they are fun to say, but hard to spell, since the Hungarian alaphabet is not the same as the English alphabet. For instance, in Hungarian, cs is pronounced the way we would pronounce ch, and there are a lot of accent marks and strange-looking letter combinations.

Hungarian flagHungarian food is very tasty. They love to cook with garlic and paprika (red pepper). If you want to see some Hungarian recipes, click here. Did you know that paprika is a Hungarian word for pepper? You might even have some paprika in your kitchen cabinet. You can even tell your mom you know how to speak Hungarian (at least one word).

Here are a few more words for you:

English |Hungarian |How to say it

Yes | Igen | Ee-gan
No | Nem | Nem
Thank you | Ko szon om | Curse-a-nem
Hello | Szervusz | Sair-boosh or Sar-boosh
Goodbye | Szervusz | Sair-boosh or Sar-boosh
Cat | Cica | Seet-sa
Dog | Kutya | Koo-chah
One | Egy | Edge
Two | Ketto | Cat-er
Three | Harom | Har-um
Good morning | Jo reggelt | Yo ruh-gelt

And my very favorite words to say (we used to say them to my grandparents' dog all the time becuase he only spoke Hungarian, not English):

Get out of this room | Ki a szobabol | Key uh so-bob-oh

If you want to know what the weather is like in Hungary today, click here.

Did you notice all those funny-looking words on that site? That's Hungarian!

Here are some more facts about Hungary:


Hungary Geography

Location: Central Europe, northwest of Romania
Area: total: 93,030 sq km
land: 92,340 sq km
water: 690 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 2,009 km
border countries: Austria 366 km, Croatia 329 km, Romania 443 km, Yugoslavia 151 km, Slovakia 515 km, Slovenia 102 km, Ukraine 103 km
Climate: temperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains; hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Tisza River 78 m
highest point: Kekes 1,014 m
Natural resources: bauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils, arable land
Land use: arable land: 51%
permanent crops: 3.6%
permanent pastures: 12.4%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 14% (1999)
Irrigated land: 2,060 sq km (1993 est.)
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin

Hungary People

Population: 10,106,017 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.63% (male 862,468; female 818,052)
15-64 years: 68.66% (male 3,406,717; female 3,532,008)
65 years and over: 14.71% (male 546,992; female 939,780) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.32% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 9.32 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 13.21 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.58 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 8.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.63 years
male: 67.28 years
female: 76.3 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.25 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Ethnic groups: Hungarian 89.9%, Roma 4%, German 2.6%, Serb 2%, Slovak 0.8%, Romanian 0.7%
Religions: Roman Catholic 67.5%, Calvinist 20%, Lutheran 5%, atheist and other 7.5%
Languages: Hungarian 98.2%, other 1.8%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 98% (1980 est.)

Hungary Government

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Hungary
conventional short form: Hungary
local long form: Magyar Koztarsasag
local short form: Magyarorszag
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Budapest
Independence: 1001 (unification by King Stephen I)
National holiday: St. Stephen's Day, 20 August
Constitution: 18 August 1949, effective 20 August 1949, revised 19 April 1972; 18 October 1989 revision ensured legal rights for individuals and constitutional checks on the authority of the prime minister and also established the principle of parliamentary oversight; 1997 amendment streamlined the judicial system
Legal system: rule of law based on Western model
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Hungary Economy

Economy - overview: Hungary continues to demonstrate strong economic growth and to work toward accession to the European Union. The private sector accounts for over 80% of GDP.
Population below poverty line: 8.6% (1993 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.8% (1999 est.)
Labor force: 4.2 million (1997)
Labor force - by occupation: services 65%, industry 27%, agriculture 8% (1996)
Unemployment rate: 9.4% (2000 est.)
Industries: mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles
Industrial production growth rate: 18% (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets; pigs, cattle, poultry, dairy products
Exports: $25.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment 59.5%, other manufactures 29.4%, food products 6.9%, raw materials 2.4%, fuels and electricity 1.8% (2000)
Exports - partners: Germany 37%, Austria 9%, Italy 6%, Netherlands 5% (2000)
Imports: $27.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment 51.1%, other manufactures 35.9%, fuels and electricity 8.1%, food products 2.8%, raw materials 2.1% (2000)
Imports - partners: Germany 25%, Russia 8%, Austria 7%, Italy 7% (2000)
Currency: forint (HUF)
Currency code: HUF
Exchange rates: forints per US dollar - 282.240 (January 2001), 282.179 (2000), 237.146 (1999), 214.402 (1998), 186.789 (1997), 152.647 (1996)

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    Copyright 2002 Andrea Bi kfalvy.
All work remains the property of Andrea Bi kfalvy, unless expressly granted by written permission from the author.